Personally, I’ve been having a hard time grappling with what is happening in the United States. As if the Coronavirus Pandemic wasn’t enough, now we are dealing with the civil-social unrest caused by decades of racism and little regard for the lives of people of color. The proverbial cherry on top is the support of police brutality straight from the highest levels in the US government.
We have to do better. We have to double down on creating change. Our work is not done.
I grew up in a segregated climate, full of us versus them mentality. It’s sad to see how they pit poor white people against people of color, making them bitter enemies in a fight for the same resources. Even I, myself, fell in with a group that was based on racist ideas for a while when I was in my late teens. What I didn’t realize then that I can see now is that it’s a sham to keep us all focused more on fighting each other than on changing the system.
And lately, it’s been interesting to see how far certain players are willing to go to maintain the status quo…
It’s also been inspiring to see how people are coming together, recognizing oppressive tendencies—even within themselves—and working together to create change.
Change isn’t comfortable. Change requires work and honesty, and it requires that we shed the old and familiar in favor of something new and unknown.
Changing our society shouldn’t be that hard. It shouldn’t, but—for some reason—it seems like it is. It’s a power play. It will require a paradigm shift and a refocus of our attention and resources on what truly matters.
When you think about it, Civil Rights has been an issue for a LONG time, and even though we’ve taken steps forward in theory, in practice, we have slipped back by like 50 years in recent times. It’s been exacerbated by the current leadership in the US, and globally, if you want to be honest about the plight of immigrants from the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.
Also, we haven’t really addressed underlying conditions that STILL pit one group versus another or that haven’t been changed despite any sort of progress made on a superficial level. Black neighborhoods are still considered “dangerous” and white suspects and criminals are still treated much differently than people of color.
Lands are being stolen from Native Americans, and they are being beaten, abducted, and starved of funding for their communities. Genocide is still happening in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, etc. The patriarchy is keeping women down, no matter where they live and what socio-economic status they come from. And, if you consider the statistics in poor black neighborhoods and Native American reservations, a type of genocide is occurring in the US as well which is caused by inadequate funding and lack of access to resources.
My husband and I watched “13th” on Netflix this week (click here to watch 13th for free on YouTube). Seeing how a clause in an amendment to the Constitution has been perverted and used as a means of keeping People Of Color (POC) down and the extent of the injustice of a for-profit prison system was utterly astounding. The vicious way white people have treated black people in the US made me sick to my stomach and sad that I was a part of that kind of energy, to begin with.
In the past 30 or so years, after my brief association with white supremacists, I have actively spoken out against racism and exploitation. I have fought for and supported equality for ALL people. I understand that what we do to “them”, we do to ourselves. After all, there is no us and them. We are one.
But until all of us are given the same rights and level of dignity, we can’t consider our mission to be accomplished. We can’t be lulled back into a false sense of thinking everything is OK when it’s not.
We can’t drop the ball. We have to follow through on this one.
I encourage you to stand up, speak out, and support the Black Lives Matter cause in whatever way you can. The Times wrote an excellent resource that lists a variety of different ways you can help the Black Lives Matter movement and equality initiatives. You can find it here: From Donating to Volunteering: Here’s How to Support Black Lives Matter, Protesters and Equality Initiatives
Be honest with yourself. Look for your own biases and tendencies. Don’t beat yourself up over them. Recognize them for what they are and work to change them. Challenge yourself. Be an imperfect ally. And don’t put a wall up if someone is trying to educate you from their perspective. Just because it didn’t happen to you doesn’t mean it didn’t happen at all.
If you find yourself saying things like, “but all lives matter,” remember that no one is saying white lives don’t matter. If you find yourself being triggered or angry about what is happening, find out what your trigger is. Learn about what wasn’t listed in history books. Open your eyes, ears, and mind. Try not to react with anger. React with curiosity and a desire to truly understand the situation.
We can do this. We’re all in this together.
I wish you peace,